Cycology Club is Australia's First 'Rhythm Riding' Spin Studio
New spin studios – inspired by popular American spin clubs like SoulCycle and Aura Cycle – are popping up everywhere, rolling out unique and boutique versions of the original 80s-era indoor cycling concept.
Born out of New York City in the early 2000s, 'Rhythm Riding' is one fresh take on the regular spin class – adding in a little dance, some core strength and muscle-toning moves, and a whole lot of loud, energised music into the ride.
Despite the hype, as the mornings are getting darker and the weather is getting cooler, indoor cycling is starting to sound more and more appealing. While a few spin studios stand out – Up!Cycle and Infinite Cycle in Sydney, The Spin Room in Melbourne, or Bike Bar in Perth – a new Sydney club is claiming to be Australia’s very first totally authentic Rhythm Riding hub.
Called Cycology Club, it opened in late 2017 in the basement of a new Surry Hills apartment building. Founded by former lawyer David Finnimore, the club focuses on mind and mental fitness as well as the high-intensity cardiovascular spinning rush. So, one very rainy Monday morning when any outdoor cardio seemed next to impossible, I decided to descend the stairs and jump on a bike.
Cycology Club has been modeled on SoulCycle and other American, UK, or Hong Kong rhythm riding studios – so if you're familiar with the spin slash dance concept, you'll feel at home here. If not, the idea is to get a full body work out on the bike through a series of choreographed moves, and even a segment where you stop spinning to work with hand weights to strengthen shoulders and tone your arms.
For Finnimore, Cycology Club also needed to connect the dots between cardio and mental health too. The club's motto, #Ridethehigh captures the idea: riding the endorphin rush through the week and month ahead instead of just for a few hours after class. There are small monthly mindfulness classes on offer, students are encouraged to meditate for five minutes prior to class, and there is a dedicated space for mindful stretching.
Like SoulCycle, Cycology Club is intended to be a lifestyle club - offering up a full-body bike workout as well as mind strengthening practices to weave into your every day. But it all begins with the class: riding on 35 Schweinn Carbon Blue bikes to the beat of blaring dance tunes delivered in an intense nightclub-like environment with state of the art audio-visual technology.
Ride instructors will guide you through an intense and vibrant 45-minute session, with planned routines to each tune. You're promised a natural end-of-class high - spurred on by your classmates, the music, and all those swirling endorphins.
My 6 am drop in class ends up being a solo session - maybe due to the gloomy weather, other spin enthusiasts have hit the snooze button today. My instructor Alicia ensures me it'll still be a great class, even without the peloton to cheer me on.
I've read SoulCycle studios are perfumed to centre your senses, and similarly, Cycology has a heady smokey and floral fragrance, which is almost too much for this time of morning. The reception area is neatly designed - there's a pair of local Canberra designer Tom Skeehan lounger chairs, and timber cabinets house sleek black and white Cycology merch.
The bikes at Cycology have cleats only - but if you don't have your own clip in shoes (I didn't), the club has a range of sizes on offer for you to borrow free of charge. Alicia helps me fit the bike, lowering and lengthening based on the height of my hips and length of my forearm. Then I'm clipped in and ready to ride.
As someone who spent the best part of my childhood and adolescence in dance classes, I found the eight-beat count choreography easy to pick up. It's a little like an aerobics class, but your legs are spinning at the same time. A dial on the bike increases and decreases resistance, and most of the class is done out of the saddle (standing and sprinting!). Dance moves are designed to engage your core as well as your thighs by moving your centre of gravity around the bike. The last sprint track (a Britney remix) is a total killer. This class will leave you sweaty!
This piece was published for Lifestyle, on 26 February 2018.
Image source, Broadsheet Sydney.